A SCOTTISH chocolate factory in Inverclyde has been awarded five stars from VisitScotland.

The New Chocolate Company has achieved the national tourism organisation’s top quality award for its factory experience in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, less than three years after opening.

Run by husband and wife Brian and Joanne Dick, the attraction received an “exceptional” score in categories including core experience, hospitality, friendliness, staff efficiency, and cleanliness following a Quality Assurance visit.

Co-founder Brian said: “We do nothing by halves here and want everything to be top notch so that our customers have a great experience. We are over the moon to have been awarded five stars from VisitScotland – it proves to us that our hard work is worth it and hopefully this will open up doors for us and lead to more people visiting Scotland, taking notice of us.”

The pair were attracted to a career in confectionery after a chocolate-making course in 2007. By 2016, they felt ready to ditch their jobs and launch their own company.

In 2018, they added pastry chef Katrina Hocking to their team, who the pair credit with helping to shape the business.

Visitors to the factory get to find out the secret behind their sweet treats, with plenty of chances to sample some of their own.

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “The New Chocolate Company is a wonderful addition to Scotland’s stellar array of attractions and it is exciting to see a business achieving such high standards within just a few years.

“Brian, Joanne and their team are dedicated to providing an exceptional visitor experience along with their amazing chocolates and this five-star rating shows that their hard work is paying off.

“We need to continue to create world class experiences, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing visitor demands. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.”

VisitScotland’s world-leading Quality Assurance scheme have been developed over the last four decades in partnership with the tourism industry.